With 2 little toddlers in my house, it is easy to get lost in the secular side of Christmas. It seems Santa is the main man at our house. While I am guilty of getting just as excited about the big day as they are, I worry that we are missing the reason for the season. If you find yourself feeling the same way, try some of these ideas on how to bring Him back into your home and make Christ the focus of Christmas this year.
As you fill up your calendar with Christmas activities, make sure to look for religious experiences. A live nativity, candlelight ceremony, or a Handle's Messiah sing-along are spectacular events that most communities hold. And don't forget to include Christ as you go about your usual Christmas activities. For example, when you go looking at Christmas lights, explain that the lights represent the star that appeared at Jesus' birth. Or as you eat candy canes, tell how they are made in that shape to mimic a Shepard's staff. It is easy to use every day Christmas activities as ways to teach about Christ and his birth.
Although Santa has become very commercialized over the years, his beginnings are very religious. He did not start out at the North Pole, nor did not have an army of elves helping him. Tell your children the story of St. Nicholas, and if you don't know it, look it up. His humble story is an example to us all of how we should be with others at Christmas.
There are lots of ways to really bring the nativity to life. Besides going and seeing a live nativity you can bring it to life in your own home. Have a toy set that your kids can play with or have them dress up as members of the nativity. Let them create Christ's birth story on their own. Focus on one member of the nativity a day and really delve into their story by doing activities they would have done. Visit a petting zoo with sheep, or go listen to a church choir and try to hear the angels sing. Any activity that gets them more into it helps teach them and give your family a better understanding of the main event that brought about this glorious holiday.
There is no better way to embrace the true meaning of Christmas then by doing service. It can be a small daily act of service during the month of December, or a bigger project like adopting a family to purchase presents for this holiday season or volunteering at a soup kitchen Christmas morning. Any type of service allows us to stop focusing on what we want for Christmas, and instead see what it means to make someone else happy.
Another idea is to spend the month of December deciding what gift each of you will give to the Christ child this year. Not anything tangible, but rather something from the heart. Being kind to a family member you fight with a lot, volunteering to empty the garbage for the whole year, or shoveling your neighbor's sidewalk every time it snows. These are not gifts you can buy, and each one would make Christ happy.
Having a more Christ centered Christmas does not mean giving up on Santa completely, but rather adjusting your activities to not forget Him altogether. No child is too young or too old to celebrate both sides of Christmas, and combining them together makes the season even more meaningful.